Managing Grief During the Winter Months

January 19, 2022
It’s easy to be hard on ourselves in times of grief. Today choose to be gentle with yourself.

Winter is in full swing in the Ozarks. As I sit at my desk, the snow is falling, and my heater is turned up. There is something about winter that makes grieving even worse. The days are shorter, less sun, and the colder weather may be isolating, limiting outdoor activities and just adding to your grief and depression. Our hearts are already hurting, and we can use just a bit more hope in the winter; sometimes, we have trouble looking forward.

Perhaps, we need to look for our small goals, a visit from a friend, sharing a meal with a friend or family member, starting a new project or craft.

As we grieve, it is important to our brain and soul to look for those smaller pleasures that keep us connected. Humans are designed for connection and comfort.

So, what can we do to care for ourselves and bring hope into our lives?

Look for the joy.

We tend to look for something big that changes our world, but sometimes joy comes from the small things:  feeding the birds, throwing out peanuts for the squirrels, carrots for the deer, imagine their delight as they taste the treats you gave them.

Learn something new.

YouTube is filled with instructional videos to learn everything from woodworking to crochet to furniture restoration.

Pick up that book you have wanted to read.

Get lost in a movie or an old television show you used to watch. You can go a bit farther and take an online class at a local university or OTC. Classes are offered to seniors for free, paying only the fees.

Exercise.

If it’s too cold to go out, find a video to lead you in a beneficial movement to exercise your body.

Start a gratitude journal.

List at least three things you are thankful for every day. Our brains can interpret our world from a place of gratitude when we teach it. If you have recently lost someone, this may be not easy, but think of those around you, your home, a pet, great memories, food in your pantry. It can be anything small to huge.

Connect with loved ones.

If you cannot be with people in person, try a zoom call with friends/family. If you don’t have a free zoom account, you get one on zoom.us. Start a game night, play bingo or another game via zoom or start a book club. Drink a cup of tea and connect with each other.

If you need more help, find a grief counselor.

Go to psychologytoday.com and look for a grief counselor in your area. Or attend our grief group; we’re starting a new one in the Spring.

And, breath.

As our bodies naturally react to our emotional pain, we often forget to breathe. Our bodies stand on alert when they believe we are being attacked emotionally or physically. Take deep breaths to calm your body, and this will allow your body to restore itself and to think, process, and feel more like yourself.

Sometimes we sink into punishing or withholding out of sadness or guilt. Let it go and find a little piece of joy. You deserve it!

Author: Robin Craycroft LPC NCC
After moving to Springfield, Robin returned to school and received her M.S. from Missouri State University in Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counseling in Missouri and has a private practice specializing in couples and those wanting to heal and find hope from past traumas, resulting in a better self-esteem and future.  She is also a Certified Grief Counselor.  Robin enjoys working with Greenlawn Funeral Homes to provide you with grief groups throughout the year